I have a four month old and, as you can imagine, we talk about diapers a lot in our household. Sometimes I fear it might be the makings of my daughter’s first word. Choices around diapering are a big part of a new parenting career. While the environmentally-friendliest options are cloth diapering (the debate rages on) or elimination communication, I imagine that almost everyone inevitable uses a disposable diaper at some point. Fortunately, there are a number of good eco-friendly diaper brands on the market. Which one should an eco-friendly mama or papa choose? Let’s find out!
We put three eco-friendly diapers to the test – Honest Company, Bambo Nature, and Seventh Generation – and scored each diaper based on environmental impact, look and feel, perceived comfort for baby, and absorbency. These are the three that I have personally tried, though they are certainly not the only ones on the market. (And, yes, this is a very rudimentary test – but it has actually changed my go-to-diaper!)
Seventh Generation advertises as being hypoallergenic and free from chlorine processing. Honest Company advertises as using materials from sustainably managed forests and bio-based wheat/corn blend; using naturally derived odor blockers; and made without latex, fragrances, lotions, chlorine processing or bleach. Bambo Nature is certified through several stringent third-party organizations, including the Forest Stewardship Council, Asthma & Allergy Association Denmark, Ecocert Organic Cosmetics, and Nordic Swan Eco-Label. Bambo Nature advertises as being latex-free, perfume-free, lotion-free, free of known allergens, free of dangerous toxic chemicals, and made with sustainable materials.
Winner: Bambo Nature for meeting strict third-party certification standards.
Look and Feel
Honest Company diapers are uber-chic. Size 2, which fits my daughter, comes in 18 different styles! The pattern covers the whole diaper and most include vibrant colors. Bambo Nature and Seventh Generation diapers appear to come in one style each. Bambo Nature diapers are predominantly white with a simple pattern at the waist band. Seventh Generation diapers are predominantly brown with a pattern covering the whole diaper.
Winner: Honest Company for its wide range of options.
I generally do not change my daughter’s diaper at night, unless it’s a “blowout.” Thus, breathability is a must! This is just based on personal use, but the Seventh Generation brand and Honest Company diapers are thick and snug. Bambo Nature diapers, by contrast, are a lighter design and – in terms of breathability – are my personal choice for longer durations. When compared in terms of thickness, Seventh Generation and Honest Company diapers appear to be about the same. Bambo Nature is noticeably smaller. While I did not actually measure, I would say Bambo Nature is about 50%-75% the thickness of the other two.
Winner: Bambo Nature for its light design.
We tested absorbency by pouring five ounces of dyed water into the center of a Size 2* diaper from each brand, once using cool water and once using warm water, and then using thick napkins and the weight of my daughter to test the excess fluid.
Why five ounces? This is approximately half of the daily urine output of a 14 lbs baby – similar to an all nighter, assuming urine flows proportionately throughout the day. Close enough in any case.
*Size 2 diapers range from 12-18 lbs for Honest Company and Seventh Generation and 7-13 lbs for Bambo Nature.
The showdown – from left to right: Honest Company, Seventh Generation, Bambo Nature
The dyed water!
The results of Test 1: Cold Water
Results of Test 2 – Warm Water
In both tests, Honest Company is the winner. Bambo Nature comes in a close second. Seventh Generation is last.
Note that the second image with blue dye shows spotting for Honest Company, but this is just because I accidentally poured a little water outside of the barrier cuff of the diaper. There was very little excess moisture in the diaper itself. In both tests, Bambo Nature and Honest Company looked somewhat even on the first side of the test napkin, but Honest Company did not have any moisture make it to the backside of the napkin, whereas Bambo Company did.
Winner: Honest Company
It’s a TIE between Bambo Nature and Honest Company!
So where does that leave us? Price tag…
So that’s that, folks! Honest Company has been my go-to diaper based on performance (ok, and they are so adorable!), but this test has given me new appreciation for Bambo Nature. Bambo Nature performs nearly as well for better cost in bulk and achieves this by adhering to stricter environmental – and safety – standards.